October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

CHAMPION—October 25, 2010

          Champions will stand shoulder to shoulder to say that there is no glory in defeating a weak opponent.  The reason they would say such a thing as that is to promote the idea that if it is easy to do or if it requires no thought at all, just anybody can do it. Clearly, long range planning and logical sequencing of events with meticulous attention to the timely flow of materials and supplies are imperative in order to insure successful completion of any substantial construction.  Anyone who enjoys building knows that even when things seem to be ‘on hold,’ the builder is dreaming about the job, planning, figuring, innovating, dodging pit falls and setting goals.  He is constantly making assessments:  assessing his own workmanship in comparison to the workmanship of his antecedents, assessing weather and time schedules against material availability, assessing the quality of his help, his tools and materials, and assessing the qualifications of the myriad self appointed inspectors who may go so far as to ask, “How come you didn’t do it this away?”  It is a tribute to the genuine restraint of the many admirers of the work in progress that they refrain from imposing their presence and their views overly on the jobsite.  Moreover, on those occasions when necessity brings them to Champion, they rather spend their time in shooing Elmer Banks, Glen Cooley, Jackie Coonts, and others away from the builders, who are nevertheless doing beautiful things in Downtown Champion. 

          Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride came ambling through Champion Wednesday and while the ambiance on the square was pretty lively, it is not reckoned that construction progress was slowed to any significant degree.  Sons of Clifford O. Hutchison were visiting earlier last week.  Michael and Wanda Hutchison were in Champion from Doneph, Nebraska and Bert Hutchison made a trip over from Murfreesboro, TN.  Other Champions have strong family connections in that ‘boro’ and so names and addresses were exchanged.  There are many familiar names on the list of those who made the trail ride this year.  From Ava there was Raymond Johnson, Hershel Letsinger, Kay Allen, Paul Uhlman, Joe Boyd, Beth McElvain, Ross McElvain, Stacy Lathron, Penny Price, Nancy Burns, Bud Hutchison, and Dale Lawson.  Champion’s own Jack Coonts represented Norwood, and Eddie Massey and Willie (Junior) Brown represented Mountain Grove.  Chris Comstock of Seymour had that pretty Fox Trotting mule.  Don Breauchy came all the way from Vanzant and Bob Heard made it down from Springfield.  Gene Dunn came from Protem, MO. Alice Batton and Jonathan Batton came from Garden City, Kansas and Nancy West came from Tucson, Arizona.  All in all there were 22 riders this year.  Wilma Hutchison took some pictures of them over at Drury.  Slow moving Champions who had hoped to see them off in the morning had to be satisfied with welcoming them back into the Square in the early afternoon.  They all came riding in with smiles on their faces and it seems the ride had gone off without a ‘hitch.’  Even the steady stream of gravel trucks on the dusty County roads had not caused any difficulty.  Before long the participants had loaded the horses up in their trailers and headed back to their homes.  This ride has been an annual event in Champion for many years.  It marks the passage of time.

          Birthday celebrations take on an exceptional quality when held in Champion.  Champions Steve and Darlene Connor both have birthdays in early October—his about the 11th (someone said) and hers about the 18th.  It is unclear who gave who what, but they each have a new ‘scooter.’  His is white and hers is pink.  His is bigger, but hers has a sweet pink helmet to go with it. They will be fun on the beach.   Darlene said that she had been able to celebrate with five of her seven sisters!  Sunday was Taegan’s Mom’s birthday and the family celebrated up in Springfield.  Who knows what form Harley’s festivities will have taken, most likely there will have been some good food, lots of laughter and family fun.  Brian Oglesby will be sharing his cake with Eli and Emmy and their sweet Mom.  Another Old Champion has stretched her birthday celebration out for a solid week.  “Old Man, take a look at my life.  I’m a lot like you were.”   That is a Neil Young song that kind of goes along with another one of his that has the line “Twenty-four and there’s so much more.”  Forty years later, some Old Champions are now sixty-four and Grateful for the Love and Acknowledgement of friends and family.  “Happy birthday dear Graaaannnie!”  Is the sweetest song yet sung. 

Last week, in Mansfield, a group of soldiers from the 103rd Engineer group out of Fort Leonard Wood volunteered to work on making an Army Veteran’s home wheelchair accessible.  Sixty-eight year old Wright Bogart will be able to move back home from a nursing care facility and it will mean a dramatic improvement in the quality of his life.  Private First Class, Dylan T. Reid, 24, of Springfield, Mo., died October 16th in Amarah, Iraq in a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. Those serving in the dangerous parts of the world are in harm’s way.  It is the very nature of their Service.  They have the Love, Gratitude and Acknowledgement of their Nation due them.

“Oh, the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock.”  Robert Browning’s line was lived out while Champions were on a Sunday drive.  The scenic overlook on 95 Highway just north of Drury was the scene to see some young teenage girls leaping from rock to rock.  The view is spectacular there where the folds of gold and red roll out the whole distance to the far horizon marked by the crest of steep hills on the other side of the wide valley.  The rocks are placed along the edge of the parking area and are easily heavier than any car parked there.  They are flat on the top and just far enough apart to require some spectacular leaping.   Browning’s lines were a gift in a birthday book from Linda who had been over in Champion on one of these wild celebrations. It was a thoughtful gift.  Talk around the bridge table during that evening was that this part of the country may experience another mild winter.  Everyone agrees that it has been very dry and much of the final yard and garden preparation for winter could best be done during a rainy spell.  It is the time of year to finally get some fall decorations out.  Linda has some beautiful mums over at the Plant Place and lots of wonderful bulbs for Spring.

Cast a rainy spell or send instructions on how to do it to Champion at getgoin. net or Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, Mo 65717.  Get an eyeful of that Mascot Monkey of the Month masquerading as Zorro.  His wanted poster has been up in the Norwood Post Office and over at Plumber’s Junction and at www.championnews.us.   The Loafing Shed is the place to be to get just the right perspective on the building sight.  Their modus operandi seems to be to methodically (‘slow and steady wins the race’) address one aspect of the building and then, by golly, just build it until it’s done and done right.  Anybody looking for the thrill of seeing something well done ought to hurry down to Champion before the tin goes on the porch roof.  It’s a sight!  It is Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010

CHAMPION—October 18, 2010

        “Wherever railroads and highways penetrate, wherever newspapers and movies and radios are introduced, the people gradually lose their distinctive local traits and assume the drab color which characterizes conventional Americans elsewhere.”  So wrote Vance Randolph in the introduction to his book Ozark Magic and Folklore.  Even if satellite television and the high speed internet connection are added to the list of outside influences, Champion stays the same in all the ways that matter and if Mr. Randolph were around he would be able to see that the magic of Champion is indisputable and immutable.  Still, Champions are all about steady progress.  Anyone curious about incremental accomplishment should take a picture Monday morning and one at the close of business on Friday.

        Bud Hutchison’s Fall trail ride is scheduled for Wednesday, October 20th.  If it is like last year, the riders that make the Champion ride meet up at the Fox Trotters in Ava about nine in the morning and trailer on over to Champion by ten o’clock or so.  From Champion they set out North up over a steep little hill, then they will cross Clever Creek and turn east.  They will wind through the country on the way to Drury, passing by the Upshaw’s old family home-place.  Wilma Hutchison will most likely be waiting for them at Drury and will orchestrate another great photograph of the group.  She has photos of every one of these rides with the names of all the riders every year.  (Esther Wrinkles likes to meet up with them there too to give them the once over.)  There were several conflicts last year that reduced the number of riders, but it will be no holds barred this time and there is likely to be a crowd.  They will take an alternate path back to Champion and be welcomed there again by Champions who are, for some reason, too busy to get on their own high horses and have this kind of wholesome fun.  Nobody is saying that Champions are not wholesome.  Some of them do not have horses.  Some of them are busy. 

        Esther went over to Ben Davis with Mr. and Mrs. John Unger on Friday night to hear Wayne Fussel of Shreveport, La. speak.  She had conserved her energy in order to do that, as she is a fan of Mr. Fussel.  For that reason she did not attend the Big Jam Session at Plumbers on Thursday.  It was reported to have been a real doosie with details to be revealed once the General has been located and is considered to be cogent once more.

        All the pertinent business was handled in another well-organized meeting of the Skyline VFD Ladies’ Auxiliary.  President Betty Dye kept things moving along and all the bases were covered in short order.  Those bases included determining a date for the Chili Supper and arranging to secure the entertainments.  Louise Hutchison hosted the meeting attended by Betty Dye, Esther Wrinkles, Sharon Sikes, Wilda Moses, Karen Griswold, and Susie Griswold.  The October Mascot Monkey of the Month is in its Halloween costume.  Zorro!  Is that one ‘r’ or two?  His mug is up on a wanted poster up here and there including on the World Wide Web at www.championnews.us.

        Word from Linda over at the Plant Place in Norwood is that the 28th and 29th of the month will be good for doing about anything in the garden.  The signs are right–the weather may be a different story.  “Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?  Will you still need me?  Will you still feed me when I’m 64?”  Several Champions are suddenly becoming 64.  The lad who wrote that song was very young, early twenties, when he wrote it.  Now he is passed that age and doing well.  It is like George Orwell writing “1984” back in 1949.  Champion is fraught with disambiguation.  Happy Birthday to everyone who thought it would be different now and to everyone who thought it would be the same.

        Betty Thomas was kind of surprised to have learned that the Descendant’s Gathering was reported to have taken place in Champion.  “You are certainly welcome to share it,” she says, “We’ll just spread it out to encompass Champion.”  With four thousand in attendance on Saturday alone at the Gathering, Champions think the traffic might be too much for the already congested Square.  Betty has already begun the planning for next year’s gathering.  She has the fabric all ready to begin the quilt that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  She said that Bonnie Reed of West Plains had won the quilt at this years Gathering.  It was a beautiful piece called “Moonlight Over Montana.”  Bonnie’s husband is the flint knapper, Don Reed, who demonstrated his skill so deftly at the Gathering.

        Betty and Dale Thomas went to the East Dogwood school reunion on Saturday which was held at Evans and made a good report.  Dale is an alumnus.   She said that there were 35 or 36 people who had gone to school at the New and Old East Dogwood Schools in attendance.  “There was plenty to eat and it was all good,” she said.  No one could quite remember how many years they have been having the reunion.  Marilou Elliot used to organize it and then, a number of years ago, Viola Walker Paine took it over and has been doing a good job with it.  Some of those attending were Wilburn and Louise Hutchison, Jackie Coonts, Albert Elliot, Fred and Joanne Follis, Ray and Alice Brown, Bill Cooley, Darrell Cooley, Joanne Shelton Davis, Corrine Coonts Bell and Dale Bell, Tony Evans, Lavelle Brentlinger and Bud Clinkenbeard.  Mark and Gretchen Boisse also attended the reunion.  They have built the lovely straw bale house that sits on the property where the New East Dogwood School held its classes.  It was probably the Old East Dogwood School where Esther Wrinkles remembers with such fondness the ciphering matches.

        This last summer a guy named John Natchison held his twenty-third annual “Stand Down” event for homeless veterans.  It was held in Southern California, but it is reckoned that there are homeless veterans in every part of every state.  Natchison reported that there are 9,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans living on the streets currently.  Two million have already served in those countries and already a quarter of a million Veterans of those conflicts have requested medical help for psychological issues.  Veterans of these current conflicts represent 20% of the homeless veterans, double the National Average.   Much of the difficulty has to do with repeated deployments and the lack of preparedness for reentering civilian life.  They come home with skills (bomb defusing) that are not particularly marketable in an already stressed economy.  While there does not seem to be a cure all for the problems, Champions all are encouraged to reach out with a helping hand that expresses the Love and Gratitude to Our Veterans.

        Anyone looking for some beautiful smiles only had to get a load of those miners rescued in Chili.  “Smile through your fear and sorrow,” the song says.  “How glad I am not to have lost you!” the people seemed to be saying.  Gratitude is a beautiful Champion emotion.  Express it in many or few words to Champion News or in song down at the Loafing Shed next to the Temporary Annex of the Historic Emporium in Downtown Champion.  Loiter to your hearts content while not in any way impeding progress.  It is Champion, after all—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

CHAMPION—October 11, 2010

            Champions are not able to resist the wisdom and spirit of patience that permeates one of the most picturesque places on the planet.  It so often happens that things seem to stay just the same day after day and then suddenly, “Bam!” Change.  That is exactly what happened during the past week as the foliage went from summer to fall overnight.  Now the hillsides have taken on the aspect of an old oil painting.  When the rains have come at last (remember Champions are patient) and washed away the dust, perhaps the scenery will resemble one of the famous Van Gough paintings of autumn landscapes as the colors brighten.  While construction seems at a standstill on the replica of the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square, patient Champions will be rewarded soon with an incremental leap of accomplishment.  Champion!

            Neighbors over in VanZant had another delightful Thursday evening jam session at the Junction.  Guitars, mandolins, banjoes and that sweet fiddle backed up some fine singing voices and a big crowd was well entertained.  Esther Wrinkles was sorry not to make it out.  She is a great music lover.  She has had some nice company from Texas as Barbara Mathers and her friend were visiting with Lois Thompson in Mountain Grove.  They all came out to see Esther and Lonnie and Verla Mears also came down from Springfield that day.  Barbara and Lonnie are cousins.  Esther went with Larry and Theresa Wrinkles to Ava to church on Sunday where they had lunch with Esther’s sister, Irene Dooms.  Esther is a ‘gad-about’ and Champions are always glad to see her coming.  More Upshaws may be at Plumbers this week as Susie Upshaw of Idaho will be visiting with family in Mountain Grove.  She is bringing her three daughters Darcy, Liane, and Londa with her and it is expected that much fun and reminiscing will be going on.   

            Great niece, Jillian Hall, and nephew Glen Masters, both of Austin, TX will have birthdays on the 14th of October.  Taegan Rae Krider’s dad will have his birthday that day as well and her mother’s birthday will be on the 24th.  Among the many October birthdays are John Lennon and Harley Krider.  The late Mr. Lennon would have been 70 years old, and while Harley is not quite that old he will still be much older than most Champions.  Brian Oglesby shares a birthday with his uncle-in-law, Harley, on the 26th.   Mr. Oglesby may best be known as the father of young Eli and Miss Emmy Rose.  Their grandmother celebrated her special day on the 4th and gave her sister, Kaye, with whom she shares the day, a lovely bag that she found in Delores Evan’s new store in Mountain Grove.  The store is located on North 95 next to the Fruit Experiment Station and is called Sew and Treasures.  Many people were so aggravated that Wal-Mart ceased to sell fabrics.  Their predatory business practices had eliminated any other fabric store so that someone looking to buy even a spool of quilting thread had to travel off to distant places.  A little business called Sew Crafty was just making a good showing when it was destroyed by fire a few months back. Hopefully, Sew and Treasures will fare better.   In addition to fabrics and all kinds of threads, Ms. Evans offers consignment booths for local craftspeople and antique aficionados.  It is a Champion thing to support local family owned business. 

            Students from Norwood High School are studying gardening through their life science class.  Their instructor, Courtney Davault, says that this is a one semester class in botany that the school is generally able to offer every other year.  This year she has twelve students who are sophomores to seniors and they have planted a fall garden over at the Plant Place.  Linda has donated the space and provided many plants and much good information.  They have all the Cole crops as well as many herbs and gourds.  Students tend their garden on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with watering and weeding.  Ms. Davault says that she and the students and the school are all most grateful to Linda for her generosity of time, space, and materials.  Linda is having a nice sale this week on hostas, mums and her gallon perennials.  It is indeed Champion to support local businesses.  Linda and Charlene are always glad to help the Skyline VFD.  They are good neighbors.

            The Skyline VFD Ladies Auxiliary meeting at Louise Hutchison’s house on Tuesday the 12th was scheduled to discuss the musical entertainment for the Chili Supper that will be coming up in February.  It is splendid to see those Auxiliary members so well on top of what needs to be done to have a successful fundraiser for the best little fire department in Douglas County!  The Picnic Society has sold another Monkey at Henson’s Store in its monthly silent auction and the new one looks remarkably like the last one except for its Halloween costume.  Friends surprised Auxiliary President Betty Dye for her birthday with a new leather jacket.  She is ready for cool weather so she can wear it.  Champion!

            Some Champions were surprised to learn that they had hosted the Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering earlier in the month.  While the pictures in the paper were quite nice and the story most interesting, it is important to say that the wonderful event, while attended by many fine Champions, was indeed held at the Thomas Farm down in the Yates community.  Betty and Dale Thomas put a lot of effort into this event every year and it is an excellent opportunity to meet neighbors and friends and to step back into the pleasant part of the past with all the crafts and demonstrations.  Already Champions are looking forward to next year.

            The Air and Military Museum-Ozarks is at 2305 E. Kearney Street in Springfield, just a few blocks east of Glenstone.  It is a place to go to gain an understanding of what life was like for Veterans of past conflicts and what soldiers of current conflicts may be enduring.  If the burden can be eased by Love and Gratitude, Champions throughout the Nation offer those things heartily.  A helping hand to a Veteran is one well extended.  

            “If you smile through your pain and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You’ll see the sun shining through For you.”  This is the second verse of the song written by Charlie Chaplin.  It was originally used as an instrumental theme in the soundtrack for the 1936 movie Modern Times.  Chaplin composed the music, while John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics in 1954.  In the lyrics, the singer is telling the listener to cheer up and that there is always a bright tomorrow, just as long as they smile.  “Smile” has become a popular standard since its original use in Chaplin’s film.  It is a powerful concept.  One Champion gets a birthday card every year that says, “Remember, if you act like you are having a good time, pretty soon you will find that you really are having a good time, “ or words to that effect.  It is an admonition to anyone under stress and anxiousness to eat slowly, breathe deeply and count your blessings.  Enumerate your blessings at Champion at getgoin.net  or in person down in the Loafing Shed next to the Temporary Annex on the West Side of the Square.  It is in Downtown Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

CHAMPION—October 4, 2010

            Champions are just floating on a cloud of satisfaction that the roof on the porch (of the Replica of the Historic Emporium known as Henson’s Store on the North Side of the Square in Down Town Champion) is attached to the building at an angle that precisely duplicates the angle of the roof.  The end result is consistent with classic architecture.  The three-way roof has its lovely first and third parts out at the very ends of the encompassing expanse and the whole effect is reminiscent of a ball gown swirled and twirled out to its limits of loveliness.  Perhaps the tin will go on this week and the lines will be defined for those who need to see incremental progress in order to be comfortable with the probability that it will one day be finished, be part of daily life and then magically be old and venerated.  How often does it happen in life that one gets exactly what one wants?  It is Champion!  All around the county people are standing back to gawk at well-built buildings.  One such, over in Vera Cruz, is another example of clean lines, substantial elements and amazing craftsmanship.  Champion is full of talented people….modest too.

            Change in Champion is (1) constant, (2) inevitable, (3) graceful, (4) a moot point.

It is moot in that the important things are unchangeable—the quality of life borne of family, friends and community is pretty much unaffected by any superficial change.  Still it can be startling.  Ten days away from the place finds the seasons about to change with a hard frost pending and some sudden changes in the health and comfort of old friends.  Many Champions are thinking about Esther and Eva and Tanna with the good hope that their various circumstances and situations are resolved quickly with the minimal discomfort and unpleasantness possible.  Champions are constantly reminded that things can change in a heartbeat.  That is why they are such a conscious and present people.  Ten days, however, finds Harley and Barbara having come and gone.  No strategy of avoidance could have been more successful than a simultaneous sojourn.  Next time will be a happy meeting even as this time would have been had it been.  “We’ll have a good time then” is a lyric from a song called “Cats in the Cradle.”  It is interesting in that it deals with the ramifications of putting off the truly important things.   Like a good friend says, “Change is a naturally occurring event, the most you can hope for is to steer it in the right direction.” 

            A good time was had by many, many folks out to the Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering.  A steady stream of visitors came around the big open circle.  Pleasant cool temperatures and wood smoke marked the change of season.  Blacksmiths, soap and apple butter makers, sorghum cookers and camp cooks kept the place smelling like the past with all the nostalgia that comes with a selective memory.  There was excellent live music and interesting crafts and demonstrations and displays of all sorts of ancient farm equipment.  The Older Iron Club always has a great display.  If the pictures in the paper are so very small (hiding on some obscure page in miniature) that you can’t get the feeling for how it really was, go on-line to www.championnews.us and check out the Pioneers on the Neighborhood Events Page.  Champions have the most interesting neighbors.  Those charming gentlemen representing the Civil War soldiers and the soldiers of the Spanish American War certainly bring to mind the hardships of those who served back then.  A River Rat with a Purple Heart recently informed the Champion News that there are three new diseases associated with the Agent Orange defoliant that was used so extensively in Viet Nam.  Chances are good that many years from now the continuing effects of the current conflicts will still be becoming apparent.  Those Civil Warriors needed the Love and Gratitude of the Nation then and so do they all now—up through the World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Bosnia, and all the other places through Iraq and Afghanistan into the future.  Veterans are Champions.

            Some gardeners are experiencing a surfeit of green beans just now at the end of the season. A hard frost is looming and spotty areas in the Champion area have already experienced the lightest touch of it.  Sweet potatoes want to be dug now and a cover crop of something nice could go in as soon as the summer garden is finished for the season.  Over at the Plant Place in Norwood, Linda has some great suggestions and plenty of bulbs and shrubs to make next Spring pretty.  Hard neck garlic?  Or Soft neck? 

            Word has gone out to Srta. Eulalia Jasmin that she has, at last, won the bid on the Mascot Monkey of the Month for September in the monthly silent auction to help the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department make its big truck payment.  Senorita Jasmin has bid on every monkey since the first one went on the block back in April.  By the time the Skyline Picnic rolled around in August a representative of the Skyline Picnic Society was able to present the Fire Chief with a crisp $100 bill generated by pure monkey fun.   For more real fun ahead, Skyline Ladies Auxiliary President Betty Dye will celebrate her birthday on the 7th of October.   Auxiliary members, as well as all Champions, wish her a happy day and another good year ahead!  Look for pictures soon of July’s Mascot Monkey of the Month winner, Becky Heston.  She is an avid Champion News reader and a great supporter of the Skyline VFD.  September’s winner may try to find a way to avoid having her picture in the paper…she is reclusive, but interested in Champion in a big way.  The August Monkey has not found its way back from the big rock and roll tour. Perhaps someone who attended the PyroPyro concert at the Lightening Festival will know what is happening with Augusto.

            Some Champions are complaining that their roads are getting too wide.  The County Road people do an excellent job of keeping the roads in good shape for the school buses.  It doesn’t matter how wide the road is if drivers take their half out of the middle at rates of speed appropriate for highway travel.  One of the most pleasant aspects of living in a remote area is the relative tranquility.  Hunting season brings more traffic, but Champions welcome those hunters for the most part because they are generally respectful of the beauty and of the people who are fortunate enough to live here.  For residents it is easy to become caviler about a place so familiar and some have never had the admonition that slow can be better.  It is a life lesson best learned early.  

            Send life lessons to Champion@getgoin.net or to Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood, MO 65717.  Charlie Chaplin wrote “Smile though your heart is aching.  Smile even though it’s breaking.  When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by.”  Get by Champion—Look on the Bright Side!